Thank You For Being Such A Vital Part Of Our Team, Elizabeth. We Look Forward To Sharing More About You So Others Can Get To Know You Better!
Tell us a bit about your backstory and what lead you down your current life path.
In 2016, I graduated from a rural Illinois high school. I had a nice, organized plan to go to a local Illinois college where I would study politics and law. As most are aware, our own plans rarely play out as we expect. Instead, that fall I took a risk, moved 800 miles from my childhood home, and earned my Bachelor of Art in Psychology from The University of Alabama with a minor in International Relations and Global Studies. In 2020, I moved back to Illinois to be closer to my family. I am currently a Master’s level clinician at Western Illinois University in my final year of the Clinical/Community Mental Health program. I am planning to graduate in May of 2023 after finishing my clinical internship. After Western Illinois, I will work towards a Doctorate of Psychology. I hope to open my own clinical private practice in the future.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career?
I originally started undergrad as an International Relations major with minors in French and Psychology. My first psychology course, taken my junior year, changed my path. I made a huge shift in my life and my future goals after that. I am very happy with where that change has taken me in life. For a long time, I was under the impression that I was not meant to work with people. It turns out that not only am I meant to work with people, but I am also good at it. Being happy about our success is all we can ask for.
What is one thing you are most proud of achieving in your life?
I am very proud of my academic achievements and blessed to have these opportunities. I have spent the last six years earning two different degrees that, at times, seemed unachievable. Yet, here I am on the other side. In addition, learning how to enjoy life and let go of the small things has been my other big achievement. These two have helped me develop into the confident, well-balanced, authentic self I am today. I believe that becoming our most authentic selves is the best thing we can achieve for ourselves, our future successes, and the world around us.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Throughout my life, my father has been one of the most influential individuals. He always pushes me to reach for my goals and he sets me up with the work ethic to achieve these. He is open about his own struggles and failures, and how these have impacted him and his life, in addition to his successes. As a child, he was one of the most frustrating individuals in my life, always asking me to explain or questioning why I made a decision. He would force me to work at something I wanted on my own, only helping once I truly needed it. Ever the cliche, as an adult, I am so grateful for what I now understand to be the teachings that encouraged me to think critically and be self-sufficient. My younger brother and my goddaughter are my inspiration to work harder when motivation is low. My current graduate supervisor is the other major influence in my life. She not only aided me in succeeding throughout the last two years, but she also encouraged confidence and taught me the foundations of self-efficacy. I developed significantly as a person because of these individuals that I was blessed with.
What do you enjoy most about teaching/tutoring?
I enjoy watching a student succeed, watching a skill click or an idea take form. Even more so, I am so appreciative that I have the opportunity to support students when they struggle and normalize it. Struggle happens to everyone and makes succeeding all the more precious. I enjoy helping a student develop the tools that they will use for the rest of their life. In particular, I enjoy facilitating critical thinking and the ability to challenge thoughts and ideas. It is important to remember that there’s never just one solution and there is never just one road to get there.
If you were granted three wishes, what would they be and why?
- I wish I had the ability to travel anywhere in the world with the snap of my fingers. I enjoy exploring and living in new places, yet I often miss home and my family when I do. This would be the best of both worlds.
- I wish I had an unlimited supply of Texas Roadhouse rolls and butter. I don’t think this one needs an explanation.
- I wish taking care of one’s mental health was, not only, normal but a priority. There is much to be desired in the field of psychology and its stereotypes. The field needs to be more accessible for those seeking it out and more normalized for those that are nervous about seeking it out.
Is there something exciting you are working on now? What is it and why did you choose to start it?
Yes! I recently worked on researching the impact of Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) on individuals with personality disorders. MBT is a form of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that focuses on building empathy, developing emotional regulation, and improving perspective-taking. These skills can improve an individual’s cognition, or thoughts about the self and the world, as well as improve social interactions. Personality disorders are my main area of interest in the field of psychology, as well as something I often find myself working with in therapy settings. This research will allow me to implement new techniques and, hopefully, develop more successful, individualized treatment plans.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? What is it and why did it resonate with you?
Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis. It is a personal narrative of a woman who had a perfect plan after graduating high school. She decides to volunteer abroad for the summer before college and ends up making some unbelievable, life-changing decisions. Her book shares how she came to make these decisions, the good, the bad, and the horrible, and how she does not regret a day of it. She shows the power of faith and how wonderful life can end up even if it is entirely different from what you originally expected.
The road to success is difficult and requires tremendous dedication. What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
It is not easy and it will not go the way you plan… And that is the best news you will ever hear. The special things are those that we do not expect but have worked the hardest for. I am reminded every day to be thankful for where I am because it’s farther than I was the day before. Of course, nothing is black-and-white. So, while it is important to recognize that getting to where we want requires hard work, we must also know when it’s okay to take a break and enjoy where we are.
Please share your favorite Life Lesson quote. How is it relevant to your life?
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore